This recent development makes state Sen. Kelly Hancock (R-North Richland Hills) look like a tool of the insurance corporations, Claiming $111,916 from Insurers,Senator Kelly Hancock Proposes AbolishingTexas’ Consumer Insurance Advocate.
The state senator who on Thursday proposed abolishing the Texas Office of Public Insurance Counsel raised $111,916 from insurance interests for his most recent campaign. The industry provided 8 percent of the $1.3 million war chest that Hancock amassed for his latest election. The Independent Insurance Agents of Texas ranked No. 12 among Hancock’scontributors.
As Lawrence Lessig says, money erodes confidence. We don’t know that Hancock is doing this because of the money, but there’s really no way to know for sure. Unless the money is taken out of the system. But the timing sure looks suspicious.
Just days after the Texas Office of Public Insurance Counsel moved to block State Farm’s 20 percent increase in homeowners insurance rates, a Dallas-area senator introduced a bill Thursday that would abolish the agency.
The measure by Sen. Kelly Hancock, R-North Richland Hills, would eliminate one persistent critic of State Farm and leave residential and small business consumers without a voice on rate matters before the Texas Department of Insurance. Hancock, who represents parts of Dallas and Tarrant counties, said he was aiming to save taxpayer money.
Public Insurance Counsel Deeia Beck called on the state insurance commissioner to stop State Farm Lloyds — the company’s homeowners subsidiary — from charging the higher rates and to order refunds if the insurer refuses to cancel the premium hike.
Beck, an appointee of Gov. Rick Perry, called the rate increase “excessive, unreasonable and unfairly discriminatory” in her statement last week. On Thursday, her office was granted a March 4 hearing before a state administrative law judge on the issue.
And there’s news on the Medicaid expansion front. First from Paul Burka, LBB Calls for Medicaid Expansion; Return to the State Is $4B.
This is a no-brainer. The federal government would cover 100% of the cost of coverage for the 2014-2015 budget cycle. The state would have to put up $50.4 million to cover half of the administrative costs of the expansion. In return, the federal aid over the next two fiscal years would be $4 billion, according to the LBB. The state in its next budget would bear just 1.2% of the cost of the expansion.
This would bring to an end a shameful era in which the state’s leaders did absolutely nothing to help people without health insurance and sent them instead to hospital emergency rooms, the most expensive care there is. This is the way the Legislature has handled health care for decades, under D’s and R’s alike. It was a hidden tax increase on property owners that pushed the cost onto local taxpayers instead of state taxpayers.
And here’s an excerpt from Quorum Report:
Or to put it another way, the LBB is acknowledging just how much cash would be left on the table should the state’s leadership ultimately decide against the expansion. Also, the added coverage is expected to drive down governmental health care costs at the local level as fewer people seek care in hospital emergency rooms. Uncompensated care at hospitals amounted to $3.1 billion in 2011, according to LBB figures.
That’s the definition of a win/win situation. It’s becoming more and more apparent every day that the reasons Perry and the wingnuts are against Medicaid expansion is because of ideology, spite ,and hatred of President Obama. Because it makes perfect sense for humane and budgetary reasons.
More from the CPPP, Covering More Low-Income Adults Will Save TX Money & Bring In New Revenue.